news·4 min read

Daily Skimm Weekend: Baby Formula Shortage, Gardening and 2022 Midterms

bottle of milk on empty shelf
Design: Minhee Kim | Photos: iStock
May 21, 2022

(Still) Out of Stock

Baby Steps: This week, the FDAthe Biden admin, and Congress all took steps to address the baby formula shortage. Meaning help is on the way — but it’ll take “a few weeks.” Which has parents asking, ‘What about now?’

The Story

Most infants in the US (read: 3 out of 4) use formula during their first six months. But by early May, more than 40% of formula in the US was out of stock. That means what used to be quick runs to the store have devolved into frantic scavenger hunts for parents. Including…

  • Jasmine Morgan, mom of a 6-month-old daughter and a 3-year-old son: “This month, I've traveled to about five different stores to find her milk,” she said. “I get to a store and I see it, and it's like four or five cans left on the shelf.”

  • Katee Ames, mom of a 6-month-old son: On a recent trip, her husband could only find a small container of formula for $35. “It just makes me really worried about making sure [my son is] getting the calorie intake that he's supposed to.”

  • Berenice Ramirez, mom of an 8-month-old son: “I really didn't think that it would come to this point where you are scrambling to find formula for your child,” she said. “I feel like it's Black Friday all over again.”

  • Anna Stinauer, a mom-to-be, is just as worried: “I was watching the news with my husband…he was asking, Wait, should we be getting formula? Should we be stocking up? Which would never have been something we would've thought to do in advance.” 

It’s a crisis for everyone — and especially hard for low-income parents. So, many parents have had to look for alternatives…

Go on.

Some have asked friends, family, even complete strangers for milk. Though, the American Academy of Pediatrics has said to be careful about unregulated sharing, since it’s hard to be sure of quality and safety. (Note: Online marketplaces are especially risky.) And experts have also warned against making your own formula — or watering down batches to stretch them out. But there are safe options…

Such as?

Milk banks. They’re orgs that collect breast milk from moms and handle it safely for others to use. That’s usually for babies with specific medical needs. But these days, there’s been a surge of interest and donations. So if you’re looking for a formula alternative, it’s worth a call to your local milk bank. Depending on your state and your health insurance, it might be covered. Otherwise, it can get pricey (think: $3 to $5 per ounce). Another possibility for some women is relactation, or resuming breastfeeding. But that often takes a lot of time (think: nursing and/or pumping about six hours a day for about six weeks). Plus, it may require guidance from lactation consultants, and may not be an option for everyone.

theSkimm

In recent weeks, the costs of motherhood (whether financial, physical, personal) have been on the minds of women across the country. This shortage highlights just how thin the safety net is for moms and babies.

PS: To read more about the moms in this story — and other families impacted by the baby formula shortage — click here. 

Bookmark'd

The weekend means more time to do the things you love. For many of us, that’s reading. But we can’t Skimm it all for you. So instead, we’re giving you a look at the reads we’ve saved, texted, and emailed to our friends…

Which Women Do We Choose to Believe?...a look at why public opinion seems so firmly against Amber Heard.

DeafBlind Communities May Be Creating a New Language of Touch...how one movement’s practice caught the attention of linguists.

When Wedding Crashers Are Welcome Guests...these days, many couples won’t object to strangers stopping by.

Downtime

Downtime doesn’t have to mean doing nothing. Here’s one idea for making the most of your weekend.

OK, bloomer. If you’re looking for a way to make the most of spring’s sunny days, consider gardening. The hobby can help improve your overall health and happiness, and there are options for just about any space. If you’re a city dweller, consider growing a whole bunch of herbs (think: basil, parsley, dill) indoors with a product like the AeroGarden. Or, if you have a whole backyard, try turning your space into a full-on wildlife oasis. (Just make sure you have everything you’ll need — including essential toolsa flexible hose, even some cushioned support.) You dig?

Eyes On: The 2022 Midterms

The midterm elections have a big impact on the policies that affect our day-to-day lives. So we’re here to help you Skimm Your Ballot. And Skimm what’s going on next week…

State(s) of Play: On Tuesday, May 24, there are primary elections in Alabama (Governor, Senate, House), Arkansas (Governor, Senate, House), Georgia (Governor, Senate, House), and Minnesota (House). As well as a handful of primary runoff elections in Texas

The Talkers: 

  • Georgia flipped the Senate blue in the last election, so all eyes are on whether Sen. Raphael Warnock (D) can keep his seat against challenger Herschel Walker (R). Meanwhile, the GOP gubernatorial primary has everyone's attention: Gov. Brian Kemp — who's now on former President Donald Trump’s bad side — is facing a Trump-backed challenge from former Sen. David Perdue. Whoever wins will go head-to-head with Democrat Stacey Abrams, who’s running uncontested

  • In Texas, voters are heading back to the polls to settle a few important scores. Including the GOP primary runoff for attorney general, in which incumbent Ken Paxton is being challenged by George P. Bush (yes, another Bush).

  • Speaking of candidates with political fams…in Arkansas, Trump’s former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is favored to win the GOP race for governor.  

PS: The results of these elections are up to the voters. Click here to learn more about how to make your vote count.

Skimm’d by Rasheeda Campbell, Maria del Carmen Corpus, Xian Chiang-Waren, Melissa Goldberg, Maria McCallen, Kamini Ramdeen-Chowdhury, and Clem Robineau

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